Don't end up like me (Regrets upon regrets)

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callmekimba
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Don't end up like me (Regrets upon regrets)

Postby callmekimba » Sat Jun 13, 2015 1:12 pm

Two years ago, I was applying to law schools. I read TLS religiously throughout the application process, listened carefully to each and every one of you who told me to retake (I was a 163/4.19)…and proceeded to ignore it all and go to my TT(ish) school anyway with a full-ride. “I’ll be at the top,” I thought to myself, and I’ll be all the better for taking the free ride and saving myself a ton of debt. I thought I knew better. I thought I was making the smart choice. I thought that I was going to prove all of you wrong.

That decision ruined my life.

See, I am in the top 5%. I did beat the odds and did just as well as I thought I would do…and it doesn’t matter. The name on your degree DOES define your employability. Sure, I get to put in the first line of my cover letters “I am a rising third year student at <> School of Law ranked in the top 5%” but the reality is that nobody cares. And why should they? I, too, would rather hire a crop of HYS lawyers to put on my website. I know of those ranked 1 and 2 at my school who have been similarly dinged.

There is a profound hopelessness to my job application strategy. When you can be the absolute best at your (ranked in the 50-70 range, not even close to complete shit) law school and STILL get dinged at not only firms but criminal/public interest jobs too, you feel like a failure. I have done everything right, and my school’s name is holding me back.

So why am I writing this? I’m writing this because where I am now completely sucks. Here are some specific things I want to advise everybody who is applying to law school:

1. Don’t go to a regional law school assuming that you will want to stay where your law school is located. Things change, people outperform themselves, people fall in love with people who want to get out of town. Just because you believe, “I want to stay in the <> region forever,” when you’re filling out your law school application doesn’t mean it will still be true come application time. And trying to leave after three years to a city where you have no connections is damn near impossible. I would know.

2. Don’t just take the full-ride because it’s free. First, the full-ride comes with an opportunity cost of what you could have been making in the workforce, so it isn’t truly free, anyway. But that aside, your options coming out of a T14 will make the debt manageable unless you are a complete dumdum. You are either going to hit big-law, in which case you’ll be able to pay back that monstrous loan, or you are going to get into public interest/government and take advantage of PAYE/IBR.

3. Don’t go to the TT/TTT/TTTT because you want to do public interest. This is particularly true for me. “Gee whiz,” I thought to myself, “Won’t it be great to go accept my low paying job without $180K in debt?” Well, yes, except that I want to change the world. If I become a public defender, I want to be a public defender at a top office. I want to go work for Southern Poverty Law Center, PDS, OPD. Go take a look at the law schools that the attorneys staffing those offices attended.

4. Time off between undergrad and law school can only help you. God I wish I had worked someplace for a couple years before starting law school. For one thing, I would have a fuller resume that could occupy one page without including undergrad community service. For another, I would have real-world challenges and experiences to talk about at an interview. And yes, you have more time to study for and retake the LSAT.

5. Remember you only get one bite at the apple. You only go to law school once. Choosing where you go is like accepting your first job. Like it or not, it is going to determine your career trajectory. I would give everything I had to be able to go back in time and fight harder to get into a T14. Literally, everything. I know now that was clearly capable of success at a top law school, a few points away and I had the GPA. But I doubted myself. I doubted my ability to compete there, my ability to succeed there, and, frankly, my ability to be a good attorney. That in and of itself should have been enough to stop me from going to law school at all.

So I ask all of you out there to PLEASE not end up like me. I am 24, and on paper to those outside the legal industry it looks like I have everything going for me but my choice of school has seriously hampered both my career choices and my life. Every. Single. Day. I wake up and regret my decision, especially when I was faced with such unambiguous advice not to do what I did. I can say with complete certainty that my life would be radically different if I had attended a better school.

And if this is how it is for someone in the top 5%...how bad must it be for the other 95%?

adil91
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Re: Don't end up like me (Regrets upon regrets)

Postby adil91 » Sat Jun 13, 2015 2:54 pm

Do you go to a school in a region that doesn't have a big legal market? I think it's good advice to tell people to avoid going to regional schools in regions that have a small legal market.
Last edited by adil91 on Sat Jun 13, 2015 3:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

callmekimba
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Re: Don't end up like me (Regrets upon regrets)

Postby callmekimba » Sat Jun 13, 2015 3:12 pm

Yep. The nearest city to said law school is about three hours away.

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LadyProspero
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Re: Don't end up like me (Regrets upon regrets)

Postby LadyProspero » Sat Jun 13, 2015 3:13 pm

This thread made me sad. Sorry to hear this OP.

Mass mail like crazy. Do you have ties in your home market? Ties anywhere else?

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twenty
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Re: Don't end up like me (Regrets upon regrets)

Postby twenty » Sat Jun 13, 2015 3:36 pm

This is absolutely ridiculous. You chose a regional school with a full ride to avoid the debt insanity that comes with going to a more highly-ranked school, and in exchange, you greatly reduced your likelihood of being hired while in school (read: through OCI). As a rising 3L now, you have almost a year before you should start worrying about whether or not you're employable.

There is a profound hopelessness to my job application strategy. When you can be the absolute best at your (ranked in the 50-70 range, not even close to complete shit) law school and STILL get dinged at not only firms but criminal/public interest jobs too, you feel like a failure. I have done everything right, and my school’s name is holding me back.


That's because the jobs you're looking at are either ridiculously competitive (in that even top-grade T14 grads are going to struggle to get them), or aren't hiring yet. You may be bouncing from temporary jobs for 1-2 years before you finally get on with a DA/PD office.

So why am I writing this? I’m writing this because where I am now completely sucks.


No, it really doesn't.

1. Don’t go to a regional law school assuming that you will want to stay where your law school is located. Things change, people outperform themselves, people fall in love with people who want to get out of town. Just because you believe, “I want to stay in the <> region forever,” when you’re filling out your law school application doesn’t mean it will still be true come application time. And trying to leave after three years to a city where you have no connections is damn near impossible. I would know.


I mean, no you probably wouldn't, because in all likelihood you're applying to these kinds of jobs:

I want to go work for Southern Poverty Law Center, PDS, OPD.


...and when they don't call you back, you're just going to assume that it is absolutely impossible for you to move. It's really not.

You are either going to hit big-law, in which case you’ll be able to pay back that monstrous loan, or you are going to get into public interest/government and take advantage of PAYE/IBR.


No. Taking on lots of debt (even "manageable debt" which, like, I don't really know what your threshold for this is, but I guess it doesn't matter) means that instead of getting to work in biglaw, you now have to work in biglaw. Does it seem odd to you that the people on TLS that complain the most/tell other people not to go to law school are biglaw associates? Does it seem suspicious that 3rd and 4th year associates leave biglaw despite the fact that they've just paid off their loans?

Your chances of getting into most government jobs from a T14 are really no better than they would be from a T1. (i.e, very low.) HYSCCN kids are going to have a pretty good shot at high-prestige PI work, but again, hope you really enjoy the work because you're locked into it for the next ten years of your life.

“Gee whiz,” I thought to myself, “Won’t it be great to go accept my low paying job without $180K in debt?” Well, yes, except that I want to change the world.


:roll:

4. Time off between undergrad and law school can only help you. God I wish I had worked someplace for a couple years before starting law school. For one thing, I would have a fuller resume that could occupy one page without including undergrad community service. For another, I would have real-world challenges and experiences to talk about at an interview. And yes, you have more time to study for and retake the LSAT.


Now this, on the other hand, I absolutely agree with you on.

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JohannDeMann
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Re: Don't end up like me (Regrets upon regrets)

Postby JohannDeMann » Sat Jun 13, 2015 3:44 pm

you sound like a terrible person to be around and therefore a bad interviewee. check yourself.

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yomisterd
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Re: Don't end up like me (Regrets upon regrets)

Postby yomisterd » Sat Jun 13, 2015 3:54 pm

why are we shitting on OP?

The main lesson from this: always retake. always.

full ride at a T14 is way better than full ride at a T1 and so on.

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chuckbass
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Re: Don't end up like me (Regrets upon regrets)

Postby chuckbass » Sat Jun 13, 2015 3:57 pm

yomisterd wrote:why are we shitting on OP?

The main lesson from this: always retake. always.

full ride at a T14 is way better than full ride at a T1 and so on.

I'd just add that I think the stress/difficulty of getting a job outside of OCI would be similar even if the OP went to a better school. Just keep your head up though OP, that's all you can do.

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stego
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Re: Don't end up like me (Regrets upon regrets)

Postby stego » Sat Jun 13, 2015 4:23 pm

callmekimba wrote:Yep. The nearest city to said law school is about three hours away.


How are you defining city?

OP it sucks that your job prospects are lower than what they'd be if you went to a T14, but in your situation (top grades, low debt) I think it's too early to let the hopelessness set in.

xiao_long
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Re: Don't end up like me (Regrets upon regrets)

Postby xiao_long » Sat Jun 13, 2015 4:29 pm

Sorry to hear about your plight, OP.

You're obviously a bright individual and I'm sure you'll eventually find some sort of legal work. Being in the top 5 percent of your class is a rare and distinctive "asset". Keep your chin up and don't stop hustling. 8)

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zhenders
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Re: Don't end up like me (Regrets upon regrets)

Postby zhenders » Sat Jun 13, 2015 4:43 pm

TLS blows my mind. OP makes informative, albeit incredibly sad, post completely in line with TLS' general advice, and expresses deep regret about not following said advice, encouraging future students to check themselves appropriately and not make the same mistake (again: the mistake of not listening to TLS). Responses from prominent TLS users? "ITT we're going to pick the OP apart so that we can find something to be argumentative about because none of the other threads are interesting this time of year."

This place is an amazing and helpful resource at times, home to some phenomenal people. Other times, it's a goddamned cesspool. OP, so sorry mate. Best of luck.

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JohannDeMann
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Re: Don't end up like me (Regrets upon regrets)

Postby JohannDeMann » Sat Jun 13, 2015 4:49 pm

no its stupid because OP has a top 5% gpa from a decent school in a booming economy. stfu, mass mail/put time into interviewing and the OP will end up with a fine outcome. this is just someone bitching at mile 2 of a 3 mile race when they are winning the race. they're too dumb to even think they're doing well so everyone should also assume thier advice is dumb as fuck.

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ManoftheHour
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Re: Don't end up like me (Regrets upon regrets)

Postby ManoftheHour » Sat Jun 13, 2015 4:59 pm

Keep hustling OP. And as much as you probably don't want to hear/believe it, you're probably terrible at interviews. Top 5% anywhere should get some biglaw jerbs. Just get some help and never give up.

It only takes 1.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Don't end up like me (Regrets upon regrets)

Postby CanadianWolf » Sat Jun 13, 2015 5:34 pm

It would be interesting to know which law school OP attends. (My guess is Penn State). OP wrote that not only has he not gotten a job offer, but also the #1 & #2 students in his class have also been unsuccessful, so it may be more than just poor interviewing skills.

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twenty
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Re: Don't end up like me (Regrets upon regrets)

Postby twenty » Sat Jun 13, 2015 6:17 pm

yomisterd wrote:why are we shitting on OP?


Because he's a 24 year old barely-3L at a decent school on a full ride with good grades who is shocked, just shocked that PDS and SPLC aren't hiring him.

Well, yes, except that I want to change the world. If I become a public defender, I want to be a public defender at a top office.


And yet, at the same time, the other 95% of the class would be perfectly content to pick up a PD (ish) gig anywhere, and will be volunteering/volunclerking for a year after they graduate just to get their foot in the door. Incidentally, most of these people will not have full ride scholarships.

So yeah, it's really hard to feel sorry for him.

BillClinton Jr
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Re: Don't end up like me (Regrets upon regrets)

Postby BillClinton Jr » Sat Jun 13, 2015 6:24 pm

zhenders wrote:TLS blows my mind. OP makes informative, albeit incredibly sad, post completely in line with TLS' general advice, and expresses deep regret about not following said advice, encouraging future students to check themselves appropriately and not make the same mistake (again: the mistake of not listening to TLS). Responses from prominent TLS users? "ITT we're going to pick the OP apart so that we can find something to be argumentative about because none of the other threads are interesting this time of year."

This place is an amazing and helpful resource at times, home to some phenomenal people. Other times, it's a goddamned cesspool. OP, so sorry mate. Best of luck.


+1

everton125
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Re: Don't end up like me (Regrets upon regrets)

Postby everton125 » Sat Jun 13, 2015 8:19 pm

twenty wrote:
yomisterd wrote:why are we shitting on OP?


Because he's a 24 year old barely-3L at a decent school on a full ride with good grades who is shocked, just shocked that PDS and SPLC aren't hiring him.

Well, yes, except that I want to change the world. If I become a public defender, I want to be a public defender at a top office.


And yet, at the same time, the other 95% of the class would be perfectly content to pick up a PD (ish) gig anywhere, and will be volunteering/volunclerking for a year after they graduate just to get their foot in the door. Incidentally, most of these people will not have full ride scholarships.

So yeah, it's really hard to feel sorry for him.


Even if you are making some valid points, you are still being a dick, which is emblematic of TLS' major fault. Namely that a lot of posters on TLS don't seem to know how to make points without being dicks.

lawman84
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Re: Don't end up like me (Regrets upon regrets)

Postby lawman84 » Sun Jun 14, 2015 3:18 am

everton125 wrote:
twenty wrote:
yomisterd wrote:why are we shitting on OP?


Because he's a 24 year old barely-3L at a decent school on a full ride with good grades who is shocked, just shocked that PDS and SPLC aren't hiring him.

Well, yes, except that I want to change the world. If I become a public defender, I want to be a public defender at a top office.


And yet, at the same time, the other 95% of the class would be perfectly content to pick up a PD (ish) gig anywhere, and will be volunteering/volunclerking for a year after they graduate just to get their foot in the door. Incidentally, most of these people will not have full ride scholarships.

So yeah, it's really hard to feel sorry for him.


Even if you are making some valid points, you are still being a dick, which is emblematic of TLS' major fault. Namely that a lot of posters on TLS don't seem to know how to make points without being dicks.


That's representative of the internet as a whole.

But they are making valid points. It's fine to have regrets but he's not in a hopeless situation. He can get a job and has little debt. He just might not be able to get the job he wants. And that's life. We don't always get what we want on our terms. He might be able to get the job he wants down the road if he keeps after it but it might not be attainable out of school.

But I have a hard time believing he's unemployable. And with his full ride, he has plenty of options open to him. Plus, as others also pointed out, he's not a year out of law school, desperately seeking a job, and still unemployed. Then I could agree that his situation worked out terribly and is pretty hopeless.
Last edited by lawman84 on Sun Jun 14, 2015 4:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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twenty
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Re: Don't end up like me (Regrets upon regrets)

Postby twenty » Sun Jun 14, 2015 3:41 am

I'm less irritated than I was earlier. It frustrates me on several different levels, one, because I know a not-small number of people that would mutilate their bodies to be in his situation, but also because the alternative he's suggesting is fairly naive. I think it would be particularly easy for an especially-vulnerable 0L to read OP's whining and go "man, I better not go to a non-T14 school or else I'll end up like this guy - unemployed and miserable!" when in fact taking on lots of debt to attend law school whatsoever is probably a bad idea for most people.

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PeanutsNJam
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Re: Don't end up like me (Regrets upon regrets)

Postby PeanutsNJam » Sun Jun 14, 2015 8:19 am

OP any reason you didn't transfer after clearing 1L with top 5% grades?

And yeah if you're trying to get jobs even T14 median people don't get, I mean, are you really that surprised you can't get them?

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ReasonableNprudent
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Re: Don't end up like me (Regrets upon regrets)

Postby ReasonableNprudent » Sun Jun 14, 2015 10:01 pm



Cheer up, OP.
You're far from a lost cause.

artistar
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Re: Don't end up like me (Regrets upon regrets)

Postby artistar » Sun Jun 14, 2015 10:23 pm

I think the trick is just finding a niche, being nice to the people you work with, and developing a close, local network.
Last edited by artistar on Tue Jul 14, 2015 10:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

Hutz_and_Goodman
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Re: Don't end up like me (Regrets upon regrets)

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Sun Jun 14, 2015 10:32 pm

OP this is a sad story. But it can get a lot better, and quickly, given that you have minimal debt. What is your strategy to get a job? You're right that top 5% at a TT will not get the attention of an employer like HYS, but you are still going to beat out a lot of other applicants. This is anecdotal but at my T1 school there are 4 people who got big law as 3Ls. Granted, these are all big law in a secondary market but that is $110k in an area where you can buy a very nice 3-4 bedroom house for $300-400k. So all hope is not lost.

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janefbk
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Re: Don't end up like me (Regrets upon regrets)

Postby janefbk » Fri Jun 26, 2015 10:25 pm

OP sounds like you have terrible interview/interpersonal skills. I went to a regional school, got mediocre grades and still got an SA offer at OCI which turned into a full time offer. Had other opportunities too outside of OCI, including an offer at the first firm I worked for when I started law school. I've been at my current firm for almost a year now. Pay is pretty good (not big law of course), hours are awesome, and I never work weekends. My debt situation sucks but I refinanced my loans to a super low interest rate and already paid down $30k of the original amount. I agree that you should have worked before law school. I knew I wanted to be a lawyer because I worked closely with lawyers for years. There is a much bigger job market for those who have substantial work experience prior to going to law school vs. the typical K-JDs. Where you go to law school certainly matters but it is not the end all be all of your life. You are just super dramatic and need to quit your bitchin'.

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minnbills
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Re: Don't end up like me (Regrets upon regrets)

Postby minnbills » Fri Jun 26, 2015 10:48 pm

Just lol at TLS right now. Some day, someone is going to do a wicked case study on this place.

This guy is 100% right. OP, I'm sorry about your experience so far. Gun hard for clerkships. At top 5% you should land a pretty good one.

The whole "booming" economy thing is only applicable to law in the MA/Corporate context. Outside of that, the basic fact remains: there are not enough legal jobs to go around.

T14 or don't go at all. Seriously people.




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